Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Insurance Industry Hits a New Low

No doubt, you’ve seen AHIP’s (America’s Health Insurance Plans) television ads designed to scare seniors into believing that cutting millions in industry subsidies is somehow the same as cutting Medicare. This weekend, their president penned a letter to the Washington Post continuing the intergenerational war refrain, which has become a popular marketing ploy used by the Bush administration whenever it wants to scare one age group or the other.

If you want to get beyond the rhetoric, check out Robert Laszewski’s post today at the Healthcare Policy and Marketplace Review blog. He contrasts AHIP’s main points with the truth, such as:

“The Congressional Budget Office predicts that 3 million seniors—mostly rural Americans—will lose their Medicare Advantage coverage altogether if the House bill becomes law.” I am sure that is right. But the CBO is right more because the plans that have been gaming the Private Fee For Service payment system won’t any longer be able to do it and will leave those markets.

And then the big one: “There’s no justification for pitting children against seniors.” Damn right. So, why are you making this into a kids versus seniors issue?

While we don’t agree with all of Laszewski’s conclusions, it is refreshing to see someone looking past the PR to the actual truth of the matter. The post's discussion also provides more thoughtful insight into this "seniors versus children" propaganda.

The real question is...Can those who actually care about sensible healthcare options for seniors and children cut through this million dollar industry marketing blitz to persuade the Senate to take the House’s lead on SCHIP and MA reform?

Here’s a letter we’ve sent to the Senate urging they consider legislation that improves children’s healthcare access through SCHIP while also making desperately needed reforms to private Medicare Advantage plans.

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